In PL/SQL you can use the VARCHAR2 datatype to handle up to 32K. If you're finding that you have larger values than that, you'll need to look into a large object type i.e. CLOB. You could also use a LONG datatype but since Oracle has deprecated the LONG datatype, CLOB would be a better choice. With a CLOB you can actually handle up to 4GB!
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This was first published in November 2002